-The Best N64 Games: 1st & 3rd Person Shooters-
Goldeneye remains one of the most influential FPS games of all time. As Doom had accomplished on the PC, Goldeneye 007 popularized the FPS genre on home consoles. Although FPS games in this generation feel very different than this classic, games like Call of Duty and Battlefield still owe a debt of gratitude to Rare’s pioneering effort. Additions like the four-player split screen multiplayer mode also contributed to the legacy of the game.
Whereas Rare collaborated with a proven franchise in Goldeneye 007, the British phenoms decided to craft their own IP with Perfect Dark, the spiritual successor to Goldeneye. Stunning graphics, a fine-tuned game engine, and a multi-player mode with too many options to count, Perfect Dark was the polished diamond to Goldeneye’s raw hunk of gold. It’s too bad Rare today is no longer the same Rare as they once were. Perfect Dark’s sequel didn\’t live up to the greatness of the original. We still prefer the N64 version.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
Fog. Dinosaurs. More fog. More dinosaurs. Ok, I\’m being a bit unfair. Turok was one of the most popular games on the system and was the go-to action game upon the N64’s launch. The famous anecdote with Turok is how it saved Acclaim from extinction. For a little while, at least. (Acclaim officially went under in 2004.) The FPS-that-could proved that console First Person Shooters could evolve the genre, providing deeper 3D movement and exploration plus better graphics than ever seen before. Massively popular with the critics and the fans, Turok spawned a franchise that would see six more sequels.
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
Speaking of Turok sequels, why don\’t we look at two more? The first sequel marveled gamers with its stunning graphics. Another big improvement was the huge arsenal, full of creative weapons. The most famous of these was the Cerebral Bore, which would drain a victim’s cerebrospinal fluid. After this, it then explodes, decapitating the enemy. The flamethrower was considered the first time a game rendered fire with polygons. Other new ideas were the ability to ride on weapon-wielding dinosaurs and using weapons especially suited for the underwater portions of the games.
Turok 3: Shadows of Oblivion
Critics argued about Turok 3. Was it too similar to other mainstream FPS games or did it retain the Turok flavor? Looked at in a positive light, one would see a game that took what was best about the previous Turok games while addressing any criticisms leveled at the previous two. In essence it was a Turok game that had learned a few good lessons from the rest of the industry. (You may realize that we didn\’t include Turok: Rage Wars in this list. This was intentional.)
WinBack: Covert Operations
Winback is a third person shooter that added a number of innovations still felt in the industry today. A handy cover system was in place, as well as a laser sight that helps out with aiming. With a story that involves terrorists and covert operations, Winback almost feels like looking into the future, with many elements being used in present day games. In a sense, Winback was the N64’s Metal Gear Solid.
Duke Nukem 64
A port of the classic Duke Nukem 3D, the N64 version added features not present in the original PC release. The biggest addition has to be the 4 player split screen multiplayer, but the single player received new areas, 3D models for some enemies, and new monsters to annihilate with new weapons. Nintendo may have censored some of the more mature jokes and references, but it is still Duke at its core, making this a blast for any retro fans of the genre.
The reason I enjoyed Mission Impossible back in the day was because it wasn\’t your typical third-person shooter. Often you were given disguises in order to take on a completely new persona in order to complete your objective. Violence was discouraged and finding alternate methods to solve the same problem was rewarded. You were given all sorts of cool and odd gadgets such as the explosive gum and the Facemaker from the movie. Other equipment you were provided with were smoke generators, infra-red contacts, gas injectors, fingerprint scanners, and computer disks. These all led to you really feel immersed in your role as a secret agent.
The World Is Not Enough
After Goldeneye brought the Bond franchise to critical acclaim in the video game world, EA released Tomorrow Never Dies to poor reviews. Luckily, Eurocom, decided to go back to what made Goldeneye great with The World Is Not Enough. With all the same elements as Goldeneye but with better graphics, audio, and more realistic shooting, TWINE wasn\’t as groundbreaking as its predecessor, but it was good enough to hang onto its coattails. Many consider the best three FPS games on the N64 to be Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and TWINE. It makes sense that many years later, Eurocom had the pedigree to reboot Goldeneye on the Wii.
Another port from a PC original, Quake on the N64 is the same game with downgraded visuals so the console could run it. The single player campaign plays straight through instead of selecting “episodes”, the difficulty could only be selected upon starting up a new file, and some multiplayer maps are omitted, but what here is undeniably the classic many fell in love with.
While it holds the name Quake 2, the N64 game is actually a new game in the series built for the system. The single player contains new exclusive levels from the PC, and the game can be used with the expansion pack for better graphics and a smoother frame rate. Quake fans will also be excited to know that a rich multiplayer component is included with four game modes set across ten maps. If you were sick of ports of first person shooters, Quake 2 was a breath of fresh air.
If you enjoyed Doom and Doom 2 on the PC, Doom 64 is an exceptional throwback to the simpler times of the first person shooter genre. Players must traverse tons of stages while killing demons and doing light puzzle solving. Each level acts as a mini sandbox instead of a linear path like most shooters these days. Hell is a terrifying place, but luckily your amazing arsenal will keep you company including the double chainsaw and the BFG 9000. While not the most dynamic shooter on the N64, Doom 64 offers a retro style not seen by shooters anymore.